This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 28, 2003 11:21 AM. The previous post in this blog was Around 22/7. The next post in this blog is This just in. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, February 28, 2003

Send in the clowns

Just yesterday, I was thinking that I didn't yet have any good candidates for my annual list of the Top 10 Nitwits of the Year.

Today I have not one but two.

The Oregonian reports that legislators from the rural portions of the state (all Republicans, naturally) are outraged -- outraged! -- that the people of Portland and Multnomah County might actually raise local taxes to pay for the public schools that their backwoods constituents don't want to pay for. If the big city folks pay extra taxes for schools, they reason, the rural districts should get more money, even if those towns and counties don't pay any extra tax.

You wonder why the Oregon Legislature is the laughingstock of the nation? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you State Senators Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, and Steve Harper, R-Klamath Falls:

The potential bailout of the state's biggest school district left some legislators fuming that smaller districts have no such safety net, and vowing to force Portland to share the money through the state's equalization formula.

"This is an end run on a formula that a lot of people have shed a lot of blood, sweat and tears on," said Ferrioli. "It's a philosophical poke in the eye to people who believe kids all deserve the same opportunity no matter where they live." ...

His sentiments were echoed by Sen. Steve Harper, R-Klamath Falls, who said he is ready to vote on a bill that would subject Portland's newfound school money to the equalization plan.

"They stole our timber money," he said. "So if they're going to generate money, it has to go back out to everyone else."

This is Oregon politics at its worst -- a very bad sign for the next two years in Salem, which promise to be as pitiful as the last two.

The truth is that 30 percent of the money that the Portland metropolitan area sends to Salem gets spent elsewhere. If that's not enough for these fellows, perhaps they should think about joining Idaho or California and seeing what kind of deal they get there.

The one saving grace in this sad scenario is that these dudes aren't too bright. The story goes on:

Ferrioli, vice chairman of the Senate Revenue Committee, said he expects to lead an effort to require Portland schools to share any new money they receive by making it subject to the statewide distribution formula. All that requires, he said, is the Legislature to pass a bill defining the city's business fees as "local revenue."
A little something this guy seems to be overlooking is that the governor of Oregon, who just began a four-year term, is a Democrat from Portland.

Nitwits of the year? Up to two now, and counting.

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